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Unearthed Arcana New Unearthed Arcana: Psionics!

There’s a new Unearthed Arcana article out, and it’s all about psionics! "Their minds bristling with power, three new subclasses arrive in today’s Unearthed Arcana: the Psychic Warrior for the fighter, the Soulknife for the rogue, and the tradition of Psionics for the wizard."

There’s a new Unearthed Arcana article out, and it’s all about psionics! "Their minds bristling with power, three new subclasses arrive in today’s Unearthed Arcana: the Psychic Warrior for the fighter, the Soulknife for the rogue, and the tradition of Psionics for the wizard."

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In this 9-page PDF, there are also some new psionics-themed spells (including versions of classic psionic powers like id insinuation and ego whip) and two new feats.
 

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Staffan

Legend
Agreed'ish. It was panned. Artifiers as super distinct from wizards... eh.

To me, they've always been and will always be just wizards who access magic in a different way. they've always cast spells and created magic items, just like wizards. They've just been better at the magic item part than the spell part, so they're a type of specialist wizard who focuses on creation rather than casting.
The Eberron 3e artificer was defined by a couple of things:
  • Slightly worse casting than a full caster (on par with a bard).
  • Spontaneous casting from their entire list, which sounds powerful but was limited by
  • A spell list that was almost exclusively buff-focused, and what few spells weren't buffs dealt with creating/repairing things.
  • The spell-storing item spell, which let them create a one-shot wand of any spell a full caster of their level would be able to cast, but at the cost of 10 minutes and some XP - this made them the ultimate MacGyvers, because given some time they would be able to figure out the solution to very many things even if they hadn't specifically prepared for them.
  • Great flexibility regarding using and creating magic items.
  • Moderate skills, with the ability to sub in for a rogue in the trap-finding/-disarming department if needed.
  • Moderate fighting ability, made better by buff spells.
These are all things that make them at least as different from wizards as clerics or druids are.

For Eberron, agreed.

For Dark Sun, sure... ish.

Only if you're focused on Dark Sun Psionics. It's quite useful for any number of other games though.
When designing a thing, one should consider "who wants this thing?" Artificers are primarily desired by Eberron fans, and psionics by Dark Sun (and to some extent Eberron) fans. I reckon that most other people don't really care much about whether those things exist or not - they might play them if they're around, but they don't much care if they're not.

That doesn't mean one shouldn't try to broaden the appeal, but that should not come at the expense of the core audience.
 

Eric V

Hero
That doesn't mean one shouldn't try to broaden the appeal, but that should not come at the expense of the core audience.

This is the interesting part to me: What is the worst that happens if they release a psion and only a small percentage of people like/use it (mind you, that percentage is probably comparable to how many people play some official PHB classes, but whatever)? Does WotC go into a tailspin or something? It's the DOMINANT leader in RPGs...if ONE book doesn't kill on Amazon, what happens?

That's the frustrating thing...if any RPG company is in a position to take the risk to be innovative, it's WotC by virtue of its lead position in the market. And yet...
 

MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Thoughts.
Honestly, this isn't that bad of a Wizard School. I just don't expect it to see the light of day due to negative reactions from people yearning for the next crack at the Mystic, and also the Sorcerer fans who maintain a constant vigil against anything that could potentially trod on their toes.
n_n Ur not 'rong... n_n
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
What is the worst that happens if they release a psion and only a small percentage of people like/use it

That book doesn't sell well and they have to answer to their bosses and their bosses have to answer to their bosses and so on up the Hasbro chain about why they didn't stick to the plan and fully vet something through the crowdsourced approval processes that UA represents.

I know sales have been up and up, but when you only release 4 books a year, you can't afford one of those to be a miss.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The divide in the thread started off with people who passionately wanted a psion class on the one side, and less passionate about psionics folks on the other, with the former generally disliking to hating the UA and the latter generally liking or being ambivalent to the UA. I think that still captures the whole thread pretty neatly. Good folks in both groups, of course.
 

Eric V

Hero
That book doesn't sell well and they have to answer to their bosses and their bosses have to answer to their bosses and so on up the Hasbro chain about why they didn't stick to the plan and fully vet something through the crowdsourced approval processes that UA represents.

I know sales have been up and up, but when you only release 4 books a year, you can't afford one of those to be a miss.
You really believe that?

Wow, market leader is in an incredibly fragile position...
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Wow, market leader is in an incredibly fragile position...

I didn't say they would lose their position as the market leader.

I said if they had a miss on their sales goals that they would have to answer for why. shrug

When you have a formula that is working exceptionally well, why risk it on a gamble?

I do think they'll put a full Psion out, eventually. But that is based entirely on my hope that we'll see official 5e support for Dark Sun based on market research that shows it will do well.

If they don't do Dark Sun, I doubt we'll see an official Psion base class.
 

Ashrym

Legend
Well, there's "love to hate," sure. ;)

Heck, look at how much money Aquaman made. Oh, wait, they replaced the mocked character with Aquamoa and then it made a lot of money. ;)

I doubt inclusion ever came down to straight-up popularity. What was ultimately excluded from the PH that was actually on the table? Psionics & the Warlord. Not things that only a relative few liked (like the Druid, Bard, &c), but things that a relative few hated - in the refuse to tolerate sense, not the love to hate sense. ;)

Without the data to back that up it's just conjecture. This is a reddit survey result for 5e from 2 years ago with over 8000 responses. 8000 is a decent sample size. It also included UA versions of the artificer and mystic from the time. Here is the ranking of official classes from that poll. Then.

RankClass(%)
#1Bard (12.25)%
#2Warlock (12.12%)
#3Wizard (11.95%)
#4Rogue (9.11%)
#5Paladin (8.8%)
#6Monk (7.84%)
#7Fighter (7.36%)
#8Cleric (7.14%)
#9Sorcerer (6.13%)
#10Druid (5.23%)
#11Barbarian (4.14%)
#12Ranger (4.09%)

Now (I just went back to the original poll results to see where it ended).

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That is strictly a popularity vote. Bards are popular. That's still largely forum users, however. In 2016, Mearls gave this information. It stated that the traditional classes were largely the most used, with paladins and warlocks trailing in 5th and 6th place while druids were in last. Last place was still close to the 5th most popular race. What we don't know is the number of surveys back.

The WotC survey also indicated that the mystic class was hitting satisfaction but needed some mechanical work.

Here is another poll with a few thousand votes to sample. It's "what is your main character?"

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Here is another poll. This one is also from a couple years ago and includes artificer. Nearly 10,000 votes.

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People have been making polls for some time. Bards don't struggle on them. What I struggle with is finding a good poll to demonstrate the popularity of psionicists or warlords. I see people claim they are popular but looking @Sacrosanct's poll here they don't look like they would make the cut as a core class according to Enworld.

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That poll restricts to 6 classes for a core game so would not necessarily be strictly popularity. Here is the poll from the 7 classes to keep thread.

1574806160230.png


Warlords, psionicists/mystics, and artificers look like they wouldn't make the cut. They would fall under "other" as write-ins. This next poll is "the best class" poll. It doesn't have a lot of votes but there is some consistency with the bigger polls made earlier.

1574807260211.png

Write-in's didn't make it far there either, but the point is bards are consistently rated well based on popularity. Druids aren't the bottom either.

Before you mention "neo-Vancian casting" and "tiers" to explain those results I'm going to mention this detailed survey. The author of the survey also seemed to be following the presumptions of tiers, but some of the polled criteria included subject impressions about level of enjoyment playing. It turned out that the 3 most fun options were battle master fighter, totem barbarian, and lore bard as subjectively responded. College of Lore bards also came in second place on this survey where hex blades, lore bards, and battle masters topped the list.

5e polls are easy to find and they support these classes. I'm struggling to find support for lack of popularity for bards and druids. They seemed middle to lower in the main pack to me. The same with support for warlords and psionicists. I've seen claims of popularity but I cannot seem to find evidence to support it.

Psionics are sometimes, like Wild Talent represents a bit, un-controlled. They go off when the psionic is stressed or frightened or whatever, or even just randomly and may manifest differently. Carrie was always a Teke, for instance, but when and how it manifested wasn't anything she consciously controlled. Alan Dean Foster's 'Flinx' had minor telepathic powers that were iffy, and other powers that manifested inconsistently.

It's not too odd for supernatural powers to change in genre. It's odd for them to change systematically at the whim of the character wielding them, as spells have always done in D&D.

*Nods. "My psychic powers change by reading a book" is very odd.
 

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